IATA’s call for government incentives to increase SAF supply

by | Dec 15, 2022 | Airlines, News

IATA’s call for government incentives to increase SAF supply


Last week, the Director General of The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments to put sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) incentives in place.

Over 450,000 commercial flights having already operated using SAF and a rapidly growing number of airlines are demonstrating their willingness to transition towards the jet-fuel alternative. Therefore, IATA are framing the problem as a supply issue, calling on governments to play their role in enabling the sector to reach net zero by 2050 targets.

Willie Walsh said:

“There was at least triple the amount of SAF in the market in 2022 than in 2021. And airlines used every drop, even at very high prices! If more was available, it would have been purchased. That makes it clear that it is a supply issue and that market forces alone are insufficient to solve it. Governments, who now share the same 2050 net zero goal, need to put in place comprehensive production incentives for SAF. It is what they did to successfully transition economies to renewable sources of electricity. And it is what aviation needs to decarbonize.”

According to the IATA press release, in 2021 100 million litres of SAF were produced. By 2050, estimates predict 450 billion litres of annual production will be required for airlines to achieve net zero targets. With SAF playing a fundamental role in mitigating the industry’s impact on the environment, it is imperative that production is scaled up to ensure the jet-fuel alternative’s availability.

In an interview with Channel NewsAsia (CNA), Willie Walsh explained that despite the tough few years the aviation industry has weathered, it is evident sustainability is still at the top of airlines’ agenda. The Director General did not try to sugar coat discussions around the energy transition:

“People who believe this transition will be painless are misleading. The cost to the industry at a gross level between now and 2050, we are talking about trillions of dollars. […] it is going to be a big challenge.”

However, Willie Walsh also explained the wider benefits to the transition. These include, reducing energy dependence on imports, creating sustainable jobs, and helping the environment.

You can watch Willie Walsh’s keynote interview at World Aviation Festival in October 2022 here.

To hear about the barriers blocking the broader production of SAF from Jan Toschka, President of Shell Aviation watch here.


Article by Jess Brownlow